Fethullah Gulen, the man rushing to put out the fire

M. Fethullah Gulen
M. Fethullah Gulen


Date posted: September 12, 2013

Salih Can

“On condition that the national honor is not disrespected, no effort should be spared to establish peace among groups under threat of split within as Alevi-Sunni, Kurd-Turk and Laz-Circassian” Fethullah Gulen

Sivan Perver’s view of Fethullah Gulen

Sivan Perver’s words reflected the truth when he said “The Honorable Gulen’s opinions are pretty much well-intentioned. His support for the peace process means a lot. He has been serving literature, art and faiths of nations far and wide. His schools are on demand around the world. His support for the Kurdish problem is essential”, in an interview with the northern Iraq daily Rudaw.

Is the world going to be like what Gulen dreams for?

An American professor of religious studies, Richard Penaskovic: “Gulen anticipates peace where Huntington does clash. Gulen talks about hope and optimism as opposed to Huntington who holds a fixed, pessimist view regarding Islam-West relations. What does the difference between the two views result from? Here’s my answer: If Huntington looks at the world from a political scientist point of view, Gulen too views the same world from his Muslim perspective. But what is the truth? Is there going to be a clash of civilizations as Huntington claims or should we regard the 21st century as the age of “dialogue of civilizations” in line with Gulen’s vision? Gulen’s view definitely resonates with me.”

Who or what are the three enemies of Gulen?

A Ph.D. candidate at Connecticut University, Mustafa Gurbuz notes the Gulen Movement centers around the enmity towards “ignorance, disunity and poverty” as opposed to numerous Islamic movements centered around the enmity towards “the other.” Gurbuz believes such a conscious choice of enemy plays a role in forming an apolitical mindset.

What is the Gulen’s Movement’s strategy in social sphere?

Gurbuz argues that, as in any recent social movement, Gulen Movement too has developed a strategy that can be referred as “moral opposition”, rather than a combative method. He further notes the movement exercises this opposition strategy by engaging in a “dialogic” empathy with those holding opposite views.

In what ways does the Gulen Movement benefit politicians?

Etga Ugur at Utah University argues that the dialogue and reconciliation achieved at Abant Platform has brought the social taboos into question and thus relocated social problems in civil sphere by taking them out of politics. Although it seems paradoxical, Gurbuz asserts this relocation in civil sphere provides politicians with more mobility.

What are the pros and cons of Gulen’s Turkish nationality?

Regarding Gulen’s nationality, “It is true that Gulen is best understood by his fellow citizens. It is again his fellow citizens who misunderstand him most as well” professor Marcia Hermansen says.

Enmity or support towards the Hizmet?

It is obvious that Gulen Movement -which has achieved to bring together Muslims, Christians, Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo people in Nigeria; Muslim Bosnians, Christian Serbians and Croatians in Bosnia Herzegovina; Kurds, Sunni and Shiite Arabs, Turkmens and Assyrians in Northern Iraq; Moro Muslims and Christians in the Philippines, Chams Muslims and Buddhist Khmers in Cambodia, Catholics and other Christians in Ireland- can bring together Turks, Kurds, Arab, Assyrians, Circassians, Jews and many other ethnicities around the same table. To get terrorists disarm and speak for themselves in the parliament if they have something to say is politicians’ duty. But to bring them together around a table, let their children study in peace sharing the same schools with others and to build a country where their descendants will be able to live as the children of a Golden Generation are all civil society’s duties. The Gulen Movement has proved its willingness and proficiency for this duty across the world.

What are the subtle differences in Gulen’s interpretation of jihad?

Asma Afsaruddin, who has studied Gulen’s understanding of “jihad”, underscores that Gulen not only distinguishes between the greater and the lesser jihad but also expands the scope of the lesser jihad by defining it as “efforts to enable others to find their essence, to remove the obstacles on their way to divine knowledge and love”. Gulen believes the lesser jihad is not a mere self-defense and it can be fought sometimes by uttering a word or remaining silent, sometimes by joining a group of people or leaving it or sometimes with a smile, He moreover believes that its main goal is to let the person to freely choose whether to believe or not, under no pressure.

What did Cem Karaca discover in Gulen?

Cem Karaca had stated in his will that he didn’t want applause buttakbir (Arabic word meaning “God is the greatest”) in his funeral. Regarding his friend Cem Karaca, who he believes didn’t tend towards faith, the musician Mehmet Yankir said, “Brother Cem used to cross himself because of his mother and recite Bismillah (Arabic phrase meaning “in the name of God”) because of his father. He used to have Ali ibn Abi Talip’s and Mary’s portraits on either side of his bedroom. Speaking of Karaca’s hard times, Yankir quotes his words: “I have realized that I’m no longer lonely ever since I met the Honorable Gulen and that I have people who love me wherever I go around the world.”

What did Gulen tell Ertugrul Ozkok about Alevis in 195?

Ozkok: There has been an apparent Alevi-Sunni tension in Turkey for some time. What is the reason behind?

Gulen: Those who frequently visit me know that I have concerns that this issue may turn into a potential clash. I even feared it may be more threatening than PKK issue.

What did Gulen state in an interview in 1995 with Oral Calislar of the daily Cumhuriyet?

Calislar: According to the news, you are willing to initiate a cemevi for Alevis, after a meeting with the Prime Minister Tansu Ciller? What is this all about?

Gulen: Here’s the case regarding Alevis: I have been encouraging my friends engaged in educational initiatives to do this and that. I have an architect fellow townsman from Hasankale. One day he came up to me. I told him Alevis in Narlidere had been planning to build a cemevi and that I had a friend who used to be a deputy for the town. I asked the architect to find a location and build a cemevi along with a cultural center. He didn’t have kids nor a wife. So I asked him to do it as his charity. They’ve been still searching for the land. Sunnis and Alevis are in a sense the two segments of the Turkish community. If some intend to get them fight each other, we can stop them at least by eliminating the idea of “clash” and thus their attempts will be futile. I can tell you that I have seen that boldness in our Alevi fellows, except for only a few of them. We can build a cemevi next to a mosque, if necessary. Directorate of Religious Affairs president is a sensible man. He is a friend of mine from school years too. He is very sensible and appreciates such initiatives. I am hoping that he shows his support.

Calislar: Have you received any message regarding Cemevi and Alevis issue? Or are you speculating?

Gulen: I have expressed my thoughts on cemevi and Alevi issue to the prime minister. No wonder that politicians recognize such issues and public’s demands. Prime minister wants to involve Alevis in her party as well. Recently, the prime minister sent her two ministers to the dinner by Cem Foundation under the leadership of Izzettin Dogan, I believe, for the same purpose. If politicians recognize such issues, which have potential to create problems, at the beginning, they could be no longer problems. This is what we hope for. We present our hopes to God as prayers. We want it this way. We are hoping that there will be no fight, no conflict but dialogue and tolerance.

What were his statements in a TV show on Interstar in 1995?

Gulen: If a country is in need of peace and reconciliation and if some are believed to be able to achieve that, everyone should have the heart to support them. Let’s us ask the president of religious affairs too for his support. We also have our own projects to be compromised. We have been in touch with people that we will back. To me, all these are of great significance for the sake of reconciliation. While we continue to do so, some might create plots about us that reflect their dreams and plans, though. However, it has been seen that we are in no way an instrument of any politics and will never be. By taking such misinterpretations into consideration as well, I am determined to continue my encouragements for our nation’s benefit, its future, its advancement, and in order for our people to confront their age.

Why did I headline: “Gulen, the man rushing to put out the fire”?

The following statement, which points to the destination and goals of Fethullah Gulen, by Said Nursi inspired me to do so. I believe it is not possible to understand Gulen without first understanding Said Nursi:

“They ask me: why do you provoke this or that? I’m not even aware of it. There is a massive fire in front of me. Its flames reach the skies. My child is burning inside. My faith has caught fire and is burning. I am rushing to put it out. I don’t give it a thought if someone wants to stop me on the way and I trip on him. Does such a minor incident even matter in the face of that terrible fire? Narrow minds, narrow views… “

Source: HizmetMovement.Com , September 12, 2013


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